Definition of deceive in English:



[with object]
  • 1Deliberately cause (someone) to believe something that is not true, especially for personal gain.

    ‘I didn't intend to deceive people into thinking it was French champagne’
    • ‘In any event the document found in its records convinced the Pope that Galileo had deliberately deceived him.’
    • ‘‘It's difficult to catch someone who is deliberately trying to deceive you,’ Mr. Rosenstiel said.’
    • ‘The embattled minister refused to be drawn yesterday on accusations that he had deceived the public before the election when he insisted that no spending cuts were planned.’
    • ‘When asked to produce his driving licence, Smith, 41, admitted he had deceived his insurers into believing he was a motorcyclist with several years' experience.’
    • ‘When it comes to deceiving the public, it is obvious that neither political party has a monopoly: both are equally duplicitous.’
    • ‘They have been cruelly deceived by an industry that doesn't care and a government that doesn't seem to understand.’
    • ‘He had tried to deceive employers and police by changing his middle name from Phillip to Clayton.’
    • ‘Indeed it is also clear that your representatives were deliberately lying when making these statements, and thus deliberately intending to deceive members of the public.’
    • ‘In other walks of life when people set out deliberately to deceive people, it gets called ‘deceit’.’
    • ‘Peter could be charged with a number of offences under the Theft Acts 1968 and 1978, as he has clearly deceived his bank manager.’
    • ‘Whatever goodwill Tom might have toward the situation will surely evaporate should he find out that she has been deliberately deceiving him.’
    • ‘For a moment, she had believed him… but she couldn't let him deceive her again, it couldn't be true - he didn't love her.’
    • ‘Many have justifiable ethical concerns about deliberately deceiving patients regarding the nature of their treatment.’
    • ‘Is deceiving a patient about her true medical condition, in the interest of promoting an optimistic attitude, likely to increase her chances of recovery?’
    • ‘The campaign, launched by the Office of Fair Trading, aims to draw attention to unscrupulous holiday clubs that deliberately deceive consumers and pressurise them into membership.’
    • ‘You stole from and deceived patients and colleagues and deliberately covered up your actions.’
    • ‘It really is important for people to be aware there are people out there willing to deceive our elderly residents.’
    • ‘Make a list of who told you what, and determine if anyone has something to gain by deceiving you.’
    • ‘He helped disguise loans as sales in order to boost the company's revenue - on paper - and thereby deceive the public as well as government regulators.’
    • ‘‘I was deceived by this person, and I want my money back,’ Mr Khudier said.’
    swindle, defraud, cheat, trick, hoodwink, hoax, dupe, take in, mislead, delude, fool, outwit, misguide, lead on, inveigle, seduce, ensnare, entrap, beguile, double-cross, gull
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 (of a thing) give (someone) a mistaken impression.
      ‘the area may seem to offer nothing of interest, but don't be deceived’
      • ‘If you can make out a soft purr, or a meow, or maybe the gentle sound of milk being lapped up from a dish, do not assume that your ears are deceiving you.’
      • ‘No, your eyes do not deceive you - 85 games crammed on to one disc, a task made easier because most take up only a few megabytes each, but it is still a bargain.’
      • ‘What's strange is that, for some odd reason, my memory is deceiving me.’
      • ‘Bethany, are my eyes deceiving me, or is that Tara talking to David Walker?’
      • ‘Mrs Atkinson is also sure that her eyes were not deceiving her.’
      • ‘The fact that we stopped gabbling for 15 minutes says it all, and in the intervening week I've been tempted to hop in my car and drive for an hour and a half just to check that my tastebuds weren't deceiving me.’
      • ‘Your gut instincts won't deceive you - but the conclusions you draw from them, and decisions you make, may.’
      • ‘Stanley winger Rory Prendergast opened the scoring on 24 minutes with a low drive from outside the box that deceived Altrincham keeper Richard Acton.’
      • ‘Well, just to see if my memory deceived me, I bought Isn't Anything on CD having long since lost my cassette of it.’
      • ‘I thought my eyes were deceiving me, as, in the far distance I spied what looked like rows of silver pods suspended against the dark hills.’
      • ‘I moved closer to the screen, not sure if my eyes were deceiving me.’
      • ‘That is, (if the obtuse language doesn't deceive me), within the law.’
      • ‘Pat Fenlon advanced a small bit but seemed to have the ball covered, however the ball deceived him and ended up in the St Mullins net.’
      • ‘But a word of caution - the season continues well into November so don't let the good start deceive you.’
      • ‘No, my friends, your eyes are not deceiving you.’
      • ‘For the first few minutes of the men's match, I thought my eyes were deceiving me - these were the fastest, most athletic soccer players I had ever seen.’
      • ‘After watching the pilot DVD in stunned silence, I had to check a few episodes on disk 2 of the four DVD set, just to make sure that my eyes hadn't deceived me.’
      • ‘Microsoft argues that our memories often deceive us: experiences get exaggerated, we muddle the timing of events and simply forget stuff.’
      • ‘Don't let its looks deceive you: aloe vera is, in fact, a member of the lily family.’
      • ‘His looks may deceive you into thinking he is still in his teens but 32-year-old Angus is a father of two boys Niquan two and Shaquan four.’
    2. 1.2deceive oneself Fail to admit to oneself that something is true.
      ‘it was no use deceiving herself any longer—she loved him with all her heart’
      • ‘Testimonials are not a substitute for scientific studies, which are done to make sure that we are not deceiving ourselves about what appears to be true.’
      • ‘Take it for what it is baby and stop deceiving yourself.’
      • ‘The trick is, as Perry points out, is to learn how to deceive myself more efficiently.’
      • ‘Psychologist Ray Hyman provides a very telling example of how gurus and true believers can deceive themselves into believing what has been demonstrated to be false.’
      • ‘We then embarked on a three-hour conversation about the fabric of reality and the way we have deceived ourselves about the true nature of the world.’
      • ‘‘He is a Walter Mitty-type figure who deceives himself into believing that he has achieved great things when all he has done is talked about them endlessly,’ said Mr Costello.’
      • ‘It wouldn't protect thousands of players from continuing to deceive themselves that, maybe, just maybe, that next jackpot will be theirs.’
      • ‘However, it is no use deceiving ourselves that we can look 25 again.’
      • ‘Smokers who think the soothing effects of tobacco make up for the risks may be deceiving themselves badly, according to a new theory.’
      • ‘Adding to the evils of status-seeking is that people often deceive themselves and others into believing that they are doing something for a higher motive when in fact they are seeking status.’
      • ‘‘We shouldn't deceive ourselves about this man,’ the president said.’
      • ‘Anyone who thinks that's how it's going to be is deceiving themselves.’
      • ‘The principle behind a chain letter is basically the same as a pyramid scheme, except that with chain letters, you don't have to deceive yourself as much as with pyramid schemes.’
      • ‘Any record company that believes illicit song file distribution hinders their ability to sell music is deceiving itself - how else will anyone find out about the gazillion CDs that are out there?’
      • ‘Yet if republicans are tempted to think that the worst is now over, they are surely deceiving themselves.’
      • ‘That was a shock, he admits, although now he laughs at how easily a child could deceive himself that somehow, even at boarding school, his parents would still be around.’
      • ‘But, and I am genuinely sorry to say this, we deceive ourselves if we believe that we can change the world by this means.’
      • ‘Only someone determined to deceive himself or others would pretend otherwise.’
      • ‘The only other possibility is that he was still deceiving himself at age 43, which is incredibly hard to believe.’
      • ‘There are few truly evil people in the world, and so it is of vital importance for those who wield illegitimate power to deceive themselves into believing they do so justly.’
    3. 1.3 Be sexually unfaithful to (one's regular partner)
      ‘he had deceived her with another woman’
      • ‘Her partner deceives her, but she doesn't know it; her children fail, but she is told they succeed; she believes she has the admiration of others, but they laugh at her behind her back.’
      • ‘He deceived his wife with at least two other women, one of whom became pregnant’
      • ‘I didn't love my husband, but I never deceived him in that way. I'm not some sort of cheap woman.’
      • ‘A person who has actually been deceived by their partner feels threatened, robbed, deceived and cheated, and is left feeling jealous and torn between love and hate.’
      be unfaithful to, be disloyal to, be untrue to, be inconstant to, cheat on, cheat, betray, break one's promise to, play someone false, fail, let down
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Middle English: from Old French deceivre, from Latin decipere ‘catch, ensnare, cheat’.